Time November 30/December 7, 2020 pp28 |The Brief Postcard|”Hawaii’s reopening kindles old tensions” By Anna Purna Kambhampathy/Honolulu
Kahala Beach, Honolulu County, Hawaii. Photo Mark Stene.
When COVID-19 hit Hawaii Governor David Ige effectively shutdown tourism by putting in place a mandatory two-week self-quarantine for anyone coming to the state. Now the Island state is reopening requiring travelers from America and Japan to have negative COVID-19 tests in order to skip the self-quarantine. This is good and bad news. Good because Hawaii’s population typically consists, on any day, of 15% tourist worth $17.75B in 2019 and about one in six jobs. Bad news for two reasons. One, the worse-case fear, some of those that tested negative may actually be false negatives meaning the tourist could inadvertently spread COVID. Two, the age-old tension between visitors and the Hawaiian citizenry of which native people are estimated at about 27% of the population. For the general citizenry tourists often don’t respect the culture and land and for natives they point out that they feel Hawaii is really their native land. Regardless, the plan is moving forward although some city mayors “have said they want tourists to show a second negative test after arrival.